About Us

Meet The Family

Mark and Nancy Laufenberg

Having owned and operated a service-based business since 1991, we both had an itch to do something new in the recent years. In June of 2015, a beautifully renovated retail store in the historic downtown of West Bend provided the perfect place to begin manufacturing and retailing our family’s caramel corn and other treats to a friendly community.

Both of us grew up in the Milwaukee area and had our foundations in business formed while in college. After marrying in 1988, we went on to have three great sons who have been our inspiration to actually have some fun while working hard.

 

Our greatest joys at Laughing Mountain are seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they step into the shop and exclaim, “It smells so good in here!” and then engaging in conversation with them over popcorn samples. Time after time we hear “thank you for having this place” from our visitors. Because of these relationships, our hearts are knit together with this community, and it is our joy to serve the people here. We are thankful to God for providing this wonderful place where we actually have fun working together and have come to know so many who have enriched our lives with love and laughter.

In our free time we love to read, cook together, and spend time with family and friends. Dreaming up new popcorn flavors is always in that mix somewhere too.

Having owned and operated a service-based business since 1991, we both had an itch to do something new in the recent years. In June of 2015, a beautifully renovated retail store in the historic downtown of West Bend provided the perfect place to begin manufacturing and retailing our family’s caramel corn and other treats to a friendly community.

Both of us grew up in the Milwaukee area and had our foundations in business formed while in college. After marrying in 1988, we went on to have three great sons who have been our inspiration to actually have some fun while working hard.

Our greatest joys at Laughing Mountain are seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they step into the shop and exclaim, “It smells so good in here!” and then engaging in conversation with them over popcorn samples. Time after time we hear “thank you for having this place” from our visitors. Because of these relationships, our hearts are knit together with this community, and it is our joy to serve the people here. We are thankful to God for providing this wonderful place where we actually have fun working together and have come to know so many who have enriched our lives with love and laughter.

In our free time we love to read, cook together, and spend time with family and friends. Dreaming up new popcorn flavors is always in that mix somewhere too.

When the eldest of our three sons left home for college in Virginia in the summer of 2011, we never dreamed that something he did there would inspire the story of Laughing Mountain Gourmet Popcorn that you are reading right now.

It began in the late ‘70’s when newspapers were the hub of sharing information with you and your local community. Nancy’s grandmother, Gertrude, clipped a recipe for homemade buttery caramel corn from a small-town Wisconsin newspaper.  That recipe was handed down and Bill, Nancy’s dad, would make the caramel corn to share with the family as a Christmastime tradition. Motivated by impatience at having to wait until Christmas for Grandpa to make caramel corn, our son Jack began making it himself.  Even as his love of cooking took him into deeper culinary waters, he continued to make this family favorite and shared it with family and friends throughout middle school, high school, and even modified it to work in his college dorm’s microwave. (On one unfortunate occasion he burnt the caramel badly and smoked out the entire wing of the dorm. This photo was not of that batch!)

During Jack’s final Christmas break from college in 2014, he continued to cook up batch after batch of the delicious treat from home to ship to his friends around the country. It was then that Mark realized that there was something truly special about this caramel corn and proposed we make it for a broader market. Research about equipment and more flavors ensued and on June 4th, 2015, Laughing Mountain Gourmet Popcorn opened its doors in historic downtown West Bend, Wisconsin.

Why Laughing Mountain? For years we’ve been told that our German last name, Laufenberg, translates to “laughing mountain”. Since our goal was to make people smile by providing superior quality popcorn in a fun and cheerful environment, we thought the suggestion of a friend to call it Laughing Mountain was a perfect fit. (Thanks, Justus!)

Each member of our family played a part in the birth of this operation, and while Mark and Nancy are the faces you see cooking caramel and tumbling cheese popcorn in the shop, we are grateful for our children Jack, Justin, and Stephen for their work, along with daughter-in-law Maddy, and friends Simeon and Justus. And lastly we’re especially thankful for Grandpa Bill, 85 as of this writing, for being the guy in charge of package labeling. It’s been a joy to be a part of this team effort to bring Laughing Mountain Gourmet Popcorn to you. As we share our family’s tradition with you, we hope to help you create and be a part of some of your own.

A Peek at Our Beginning


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